The Master of Memory

‘When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.’

– Paulo Coelho

Can you memorize a deck of cards in under 2 minutes and about 100 random numbers in 5 minutes? Well, here’s a mastermind who has done these things, and has amazed the world with his incredible memory power techniques.

Daniel Kilov, an Australian educationist, philosopher and memory athlete has overthrown his struggles as a student with poor cognitive capabilities in school and discovered the ‘Art of Memory’.

He is a proud recipient of the Monash Achievement award and graduated with 1st Class Honors from the Macquarie University. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the Australian National University and works as a memory coach and athlete. He is also a member of Mensa, the high IQ society and has authored several articles relating to ‘memory’ for the Mensa Journal. He secured second place in the Australian Memory Championships in 2011 and is a record holder for memorizing 99 abstract shapes. In the subsequent year, he broke his own record by memorizing 115 abstract images.

Sometimes, you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. Having struggled with poor organizational abilities in school, Daniel developed his ‘mnemotechnics’ that helped achieve remarkable learning speeds. This technique as he explains it, creates a memory vision which is imagined, organized, visualized and connected together to bring out innovative ideas that prove beneficial in the long run.

Daniel is a renowned speaker and educator. Further, he is exclusively portrayed as “the nation’s finest thinkers and communicators” in Australia. He was a speaker at the Australian Mensa Conference and also the opening speaker at the TEDxMacquarie and TEDxManly conferences in 2012 and 2014. Daniel believes that all of us have the innate potential to be ‘mental athletes’ and the ideal way to kindle and rekindle those sparks would be at our schools where our minds are young, enthusiastic and afresh. There are never any limitations to what you can achieve except for the limitations in your own head.

Intrigued by this remarkable personality? Do not miss out on his talk on January 31st, at College of Engineering, Guindy.

Aurora Borealis – Unveiled!

Auroras are a phenomenon humans have been marvelling at since the beginning of time. Also known as Polar Lights, or Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), these are beautiful bands of light streaking across the sky, formed predominantly over the Arctic and Antarctic regions, at high latitudes.

To understand how the aurora is formed, we need an understanding of the Earth’s magnetic field, and solar radiations, called solar wind. The magnetic field lines of the Earth erupt out of the poles and loops out, culminating back again at the opposite pole.

The charged particles surrounding the Earth – protons and electrons, when in a magnetic field, move along the magnetic lines of force. These electrically charged particles accelerate along the magnetic field lines into the upper atmosphere, where they collide with gas atoms, causing these atoms to emit light due to excitation. These auroras are powered by solar wind.

The Sun also has an atmosphere and a magnetic field that extend into space. The Sun’s atmosphere is made of hydrogen, and these particles are constantly boiling off the Sun and streaming outward at very high speeds.

This solar wind is always pushing on the Earth’s magnetic field, changing its shape. This squeezing of the Earth’s magnetic field requires a lot of energy. This compressed field around the Earth is called “magnetosphere”. It is stretched into a long tail, called magnetotail, which points away from the Sun.

When the space conditions are right, the build-up of pressure from the solar wind creates an electric voltage between the magnetotail and the poles. This causes the electrons to speed towards the poles with huge speeds. These speeding electrons collide violently with gas atoms. This gives the gas atoms energy, which causes them to release light.

This light may be of different colours, depending on the gas atoms. Oxygen emits green light at common aurora altitudes, and that is the most commonly seen colour. They occur usually in the Northern and Southern pole, and the main reason why they cannot occur around the equator is because the charged particles are spread out and not clustered together as they are at the poles. As a result, there are not enough particles to hit the gas atoms in the atmosphere to produce auroras.

These auroras dissipate the deadly energy of the charged particles powered by the solar wind before they reach us, thereby protecting the Earth from doom. The formation of these spectacular auroras is not confined to the Earth alone. They have been observed in Mars, and on Jupiter, where they occur on a much grander scale than on the Earth!

Recording dreams

Even dreams are not going to be personal!

The moment inside a dinosaur’s mouth! A fall from a cliff! Or becoming a world famous personality! Yes, of course, all of us dream of great things, indeed!  But, do these fun or thrilling moments last long? Alas! Most of us tend to forget it as quickly as we live in those moments. A research was conducted to differentiate high dream and low dream recallers using PET scan and various brain activities were noted. Even in the Lucid dreaming state, people tend to forget their dreams.

One interesting note was that, the great Mathematician Ramanujam used to derive mathematical formulae in his dreams and used to record them in a note near his bed. But still, many of his formulae have not even been proved till date. Dreams have that great power of going deep into your skill sets. To all those dreamers, Japanese scientists have brought up a great technology to record your dreams. Seems like the Avatar film is coming true!

The idea is very simple- whenever our brain thinks of any object, it creates a neural pattern. So these patterns can be connected together by an algorithm to record our dreams. Lets know a little about the recording methods. People were told to put on EEG(electroencephalogram) electrodes and sleep on a fMRI machine. The EEG signal shows whether the subject is dreaming or not. Then the MRI scans the neural patterns and dreams are reconstructed by the algorithm.

Developing the algorithm in a better way can enhance the recording qualities.

– Pandipriya

Sgnl – Make phone calls with your fingertip

Living in a generation where technology plays a major role, one of them seems to be gathering a lot of attention. This technology has been rated #1 by many tech bloggers online. It is none other than Sgnl, a new watch band currently raising funds on Kickstarter. It is a new watch strap that helps you attend calls by transmitting audio through your finger. Simply place your fingertip to your ear, when you speak through the embedded microphone.

With Sgnl, you can keep your cell phone in your pocket and simply raise your hand to answer a phone call. When you place your finger to your ear, your finger not only transmits the sound, but also blocks out background noise. So you can hear clearly even when you are surrounded by loud noises, without worrying about other people listening to your conversation.

Wondering how this is possible?  Well, here’s how it works. Sgnl receives voice signal from your phone through Bluetooth. When the signal is received, Sgnl will generate vibration through its Body Conduction Unit (BCU), which will then transmit the vibration through your hand to your fingertip. As transmission is made through vibrations, there is no risk or harm to the human body. These vibration echoes will amplify sound within the closed space in your ear.

CEO Hyunchul Choi developed Sgnl when heard that his colleague was embarrassed by the fact that everyone around him could hear the conversation, when he made calls using his smart watch and thought that, as the number of smart watch users increases, they will all face the same problem. From there, CEO Choi began to wonder and finally came up with the idea of using one’s finger to transmit sound. He immediately proposed the idea to Samsung’s internal corporate venture department and thus, Sgnl was born.

Furthermore Sgnl guarantees sound without any distortion. This straps help you listen in privacy with excellent quality and removes the worry of having your earphones or picking your phone from another room to answer calls. Sgnl also has an application that allows you to keep track of your calls, activity and your schedule. It alerts you for different tasks with personalizable notification patterns.

Even though it seems like an amazing feature, some reviewers believe that it might be a totally unnecessary feature, and could be used only as a party trick. It would be more useful, if it is an inbuilt feature in a smartphone. With mixed reviews, both good and bad ones, Sgnl has still grossed up a good profit.

First mile to K!18

A few days back, we embarked on our first Battle of Bots journey. You may wonder what is Battle of Bots. It is a Nationwide Robotics Championship, conducted all through the year in various top notch colleges across India. This year, we began our triumph with National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, Surathkal.

On the evening of October 7th, we boarded our calm, cozy Mangalore Express train, which was delayed by 1.5 hours. Fortunately for us, the train was so fast that we caught up the lost time and made it to Mangalore with just a little delay. Bargaining with the auto driver and cab drivers in Tamil when they understood only Kannada took a toll on us too. Mixing up words like “Kal Hona ho” and “Kuch kuch hota hai” wouldn’t bring the rate down to anything lesser than 600 bucks. Subsequently, we decided to take a bus to Surathkal.

On reaching the college, we got the initial requirements ready and were waiting for the participants to arrive until 11 AM, which was when the event was scheduled to start. To our dismay, not a single soul turned up. We were extremely disappointed and started analyzing why there wasn’t any turnout. Only then we realized that there was a hall change from what we had put in our posters and what we got when we actually went to the college. We were extremely exhilarated when we went to the other hall and found 11 teams of students waiting for our event to start. We immediately brought the students to the hall allotted to us, and started the event. We gave an introduction about CEG, Kurukshetra and XCEED, after which the first round commenced. This preliminary pen and paper round finished with three teams qualifying for the second round. In this round, components were provided to the teams and a line tracing obstacle detector bot was the problem statement to be solved. We got a tie in the second round, with two teams completing equal number of turns in the problem statement.

We finally decided the winner based on the time taken by the bot to complete the turns of the track. The event was completed, with merchandise being given to the participants and the venue partner. One eager student, who was a Kannadika guy, doubtfully enquired,  “Are you the juniors of our star Nagarajuna?” We replied with pride, ”Yes. and there are lot more to add to that list”.

The college has its own private beach, which caught our eye. We went there to relax ourselves. Memories were made, watching the slow disappearance of the sun into the golden clouds. We were marveling at the sight of the sunset, after travelling alone and conducting technical events to a diverse set of students, 550 miles away from home. When we look back, it is “CEG” which has transformed us. This moment might not seem appreciable to many, but it’s a great feat for the team with a backing of plenty, back at home, in CEG. Yes, it was a perfect end to our NITK journey.

Travelling truly adds value to our lives, but travelling with a goal adds meaning to our lives. We, the XCEED team of Kurukshetra, have our goal to brand CEG and Kurukshetra throughout India. We feel we have done it in our debut event in NITK and we hope to do so in other colleges all over India by eXceeding expectations. Stay tuned..

–  Team Xceed

Macro economic impact of GST

The 21st century is running in a fast forward mode. There is no time to sit and relax, as everyone is in pursuit of something. One such field where every moment is so unpredictable and we have to work 24/7 to hold on to our position, is the business world.

The business environment comprises various internal and external forces, under which the organizations operate. Dibb et al (2006) categorizes the business environment into macro and micro factors.

A macro environment is the condition that exists in the economy as a whole, rather than in a particular sector or region. In general, the macro environment includes gross domestic product(GDP), inflation, employment, spending, and monetary and fiscal policy.

The performance of the company also depends on the macro environment in which it is operating. In this case environment does not refer to the geographical location of the company, but to the main sector under which the company is operating. For instance, fashion world is the sector under which our modern clothing industries operate.

In our county, the recent hotline of economics is the introduction of GST, the Goods and Services Tax, which is expected to have significant macro-economic implications in terms of growth, inflation, export competitiveness and fiscal balance, in the years ahead. Macro Environment factors cannot be directly controlled by a company and is the collective result of the functioning of the entire economy. Implementation of GST has caused a major confusion and restlessness in the past two months in many business environments.

Drastic changes may or may not have positive effects on the business environment. Even the economists are not sure of the immediate impact of GST and some even say it may impede growth in the short term, as big companies reorganise their businesses and as small firms lose revenue.

As one the confused citizens of our country, I suggest that all business sectors must be alert and have to plan the ethics properly to overcome this mix-up, because we have no time to ponder upon one issue all the time.

– LITTLE SCRIBBLER

GST – Game of Taxes

This is the tax reform that shook the Indian Economy with its timely implementation and terrorized unsuspecting tax evaders. As our ‘King in the North’, quite literally here, Modi ji made sure that the country feels ‘Valar Dohaeris’ with respect to paying your taxes.

All degrading references here are applicable to tax felons and tax felons only.

The reform is simplistic in concept. Minimising the cascading effect of various taxes applied to goods and services and channelling them under a single umbrella, the GST is split into two – The Central GST and State GST. The nullification of indirect taxes such as VAT, Service tax and Luxury is attributed to this scheme wherein the consumption tax is added at the final point instead of all along the way.

A lion does not concern himself with the opinion of the sheep and such sheep, screaming out against the terror of their forthcoming winter, have no option but to accept that they can’t shield themselves behind the Nights Watch anymore. Ensuring a corruption free regime like Tywin would have, to hold his falling fortress; this is yet another transparent and successful strategy devised by our not so Lannister-ish government. They do always pay their debts, yeah. They were a winning power, yeah. But were they utterly fair and impartial? No. They needed a GST sort of unity and transparency.

Apart from all said advantages, the bill also carries along with it a split in manufacturing and service taxes and reduction in costs of several commodities such as television, select automobiles, dinning in and a couple others.

What we have against the transformation is a spike in tuition fees, health care, mobile bills and sadly aerated drinks too.

A major concern was and still is, is the teething problem that a nation as large as Westeros would face.  You cannot guarantee a Tyrion Lannister level of adaptability in every citizen across the sub-continent.

Little finger knew well enough that Chaos was no pit but a ladder and Jon Snow is now slowly learning.

A gentle reminder to those trying to bring our economy down, The great war is here.

This is CEG TechForum wishing the world a Happy Game of Thrones weekend and not to subtly taking pride at the accelerating affluence of our country.